Environment

EPA proposes protections for Alaska salmon fishery, in blow to proposed mine

Written by The Frontier Post

Rachel Frazin

The Biden administration is moving toward protections for a major sockeye salmon fishery in Alaska — at the expense of a proposed gold and copper mine.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a decision that would protect the Bristol Bay watershed, dealing yet another blow to the imperiled Pebble Mine project.

The issue has been ongoing for years and has pitted environmentalists, tribes and fishing interests against mining interests.

The EPA under former President Trump had allowed the mine to move forward, but the Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the project after prominent conservatives including Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump Jr. rallied against the move.

The Biden administration had previously indicated that it was likely to protect the watershed.

In its latest decision on Wednesday, the administration said that the mine’s construction and operation would result in waste discharges into waters, which would result in a loss of fish habitat.

“The Bristol Bay watershed is a shining example of how our nation’s waters are essential to healthy communities, vibrant ecosystems, and a thriving economy,” EPA administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.

“EPA is committed to following the science, the law, and a transparent public process to determine what is needed to ensure that this irreplaceable and invaluable resource is protected for current and future generations,” he added.

The mine’s developer, the Pebble Partnership, condemned the EPA’s proposal as “political.”

“As we are still actively working through the established permitting process via our appeal of the Army Corps of Engineers permit denial, we oppose any action that is outside of that process. This preemptive effort is clearly a political conclusion to attempt to block our ability to work through that established process,” Pebble Partnership CEO John Shively said in a statement.

Shively also argued that the decision runs counter to the administration’s clean energy goals.

“The Pebble Project remains an important domestic source for the minerals necessary for the Biden Administration to reach its green energy goals and if it blocks Pebble it will have to seek minerals to meet its goals from foreign sources who simply do not have the same environmental standards as we do,” he said.

Courtesy: thehill

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